It's All in the Family Hour
by L. Brent Bozell III
This fall on Monday nights, NBC will offer four racy,
idiotic female-oriented sitcoms. Adults seeking intellectual stimulation are
advised to turn to ABC's "Monday Night Football" instead. And
children should be forbidden from watching the Nothing But Coitus network
Look at what NBC will air in the family hour alone. At 8
o'clock Eastern and Pacific, there's the second-year Brooke Shields vehicle,
"Suddenly Susan." Not so long ago, Ms. Shields was practically the
Miss Chastity of show business, speaking out against abortion and in favor of
premarital virginity. But any hope that her show would endorse - heck, even
touch-traditional morality was dashed well before its first season ended.
"Susan" was pretty steamy even for its original
9:30 time slot. In a January episode, Vicki and Todd, Susan's colleagues at a
magazine, spend the night together; in the world of television, where
everything is an open discussion, Vicki describes (to a male co-worker, no
less) the night as "the best sex I ever had. He did have this one move.
It was like something out of Cirque du Soleil." (Incidentally, Bob Dole,
who once flayed Hollywood for its promotion of "loveless sex," had a
cameo in this episode.)
At midseason Susan was moved into the 8:30 family hour
timeslot just as the series was going into high gear. In the March 13
installment, Susan sleeps with Adam, whom she's known for one week. During
their postcoital pillow talk, she comments that she "always felt it was
important to let a relationship grow... so that the [sex], when it does
arrive, is that much more special." Laughing, she adds, "I guess I
This affair ends during the March 27 episode (she catches
him in bed with his ex-wife) and Susan wonders why women go through so many
men before finding a suitable one. Her grandmother provides the silver
lining-"All that practice makes you better in the sack"-to which
Susan provides the yuk-yuk punchline, declaring that she "definitely got
practice" with Adam.
The writers are on a roll. What follows makes the Susan-Adam
shackup look like true love by comparison. On April 17, the staff goes on a
retreat to a remote cabin where, wouldntchaknow, Vicki spends the night with a
forest ranger ("Someone's campfire could use a little more wood,"
she says to him in bed); her co-worker Luis has sex with two women after he
enters their recreational vehicle to fix the hot tub.
But unlimited, permissive sex is not complete without
homosexuality. A week later, Luis's brother admits he's gay. Forced to
confront the issue, Luis first expresses close-minded intolerance ("I
don't like [homosexuality]. Maybe that makes me old-fashioned, or
small-minded, or a terrible person, but you know what? I can't help it")
but by show's end has learned the evil of his own ways ("I never said I
couldn't accept it. I just can't do it in one day").
Mondays at 8:30, NBC will present "Fired Up,"
which debuted in April. It features two female roommates (thirtyish Gwen,
twentyish Terry) trying to start a public-relations firm. Entrepreneurialism
is not the theme; sex is. Sex is the only theme for NBC these days. In the May
8 installment, the women banter lasciviously about a handsome client.
"I'd like to crunch his numbers," asserts Terry. Gwen adds,
"I'd like to check out his bottom line?I'd like to see him naked - I
thought I'd cut to the chase."
Terry's brother lives with these women, so he's got to get
in the act, too. In the May 15 episode, he's having noisy late-night sex
(yuk-yuk) with his girlfriend, Gwen yells at them to keep it down, the
girlfriend answers, "I don't think that's possible." (Double
yuk-yuk.) But why stop there with such masterful humor? Gwen tells Terry,
"You know how people are when they're having sex. Everything is a double
entendre, especially words like 'down,' 'up,' 'in,' 'out.' [Those two] gave me
such a hard time." Terry giggles and answers, Beavis and Butt-head-style,
"You said 'hard.'"
Family values, NBC style.
There's more NBC raunch Monday after 9 p.m. ("Caroline
in the City" and "The Naked Truth") but there's no reason to
discuss it, is there? Sad, isn't it, that this titillation is common on shows
meant to appeal to women, who supposedly are more refined than men about sex.
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